Not wanting to leave the small Andean coffee towns behind, we headed on a scenic 50km journey north – through coffee farms and narrow winding roads – to Jericó…
We’d read that Jericó was a fab place – and it didn’t disappoint at all 🙂 It had a similar feel to Jardín, but was different enough to make a visit more than worthwhile 🙂
We stayed in accommodation called Cabañas el Rincón Paisa – and I think I can confidently say that we were given the BEST cabaña… why am I so sure? Because an American dude rocked up on our second day pretty much demanding that he be given our cabaña… and he seemed less than impressed when he found out that the spot he wanted was already occupied and he’d have to take a different room!?! For us it wasn’t just the room that was nice – but the whole place – we liked it more during the week though – on the weekend it got a bit full and noisy… yep we’re STILL anti-social, miserable, old backpackers!!!
Life in Jericó is centred around the main plaza – not only are the sides of the plaza flanked by supermarkets, smaller shops, bars and restaurants AND the cathedral… but it’s full of awesome street stalls selling food… in fact we ate dinner there every night bar one… and we only missed one because we were a bit later than normal and they had sold out of our favourite deep fried potato snacks which we liked to smother with spicy salsa… 🙂
The main square is also the place to be if you fancy doing a few wheelies 🙂 I kid you not, being there on a public holiday we got to watch a wheelie competition (not sure who won though…) and when it wasn’t competition time it was practice time!
Like many other towns and cities in South America, Jericó is also home to a Cristo Redentor statue… The statue is located on the edge of town, just a short stroll upwards – through the botanic gardens… We really enjoyed the stroll to the botanic gardens… even if we did take a more unconventional route than most – yep, we missed a turn! – and ended up scrambling up the edge of the hill for the final hurdle – as opposed to walking up a nicely laid-out path…
We therefore arrived at the back of the hill and got to take in a view of the surrounding countryside and a different part of town – before reaching the official viewpoint by the Jesus statue, from where you can see the whole of the central part of Jericó stretched out beneath you 🙂
Not content with one ‘official’ walk we decided to go on our own stroll around the streets of Jericó, past the Santuario Santa Laura (a beautiful big church) and out the other side of town into the surrounding countryside… we really enjoyed exploring 🙂
Back in town it was a hive of activity… lots of locals were out and about adorned with their cowboy hats, and carriels (a type of bag traditionally from the area of Jericó)…
However, in spite of cool walks in nice countryside – our main reason for visiting another pueblo in the heart of the Colombian coffee region was – of course – to drink coffee…BUT after Jardín this was a tough act for Jericó to follow…
We tried a few places – the first came with rave reviews online… so we were quite surprised when we ordered a chemex, only to learn that we had to prepare it ourselves… ummmm… preparing a chemex without barista training… I wasn’t so keen – I didn’t want to get the blame for a rough tasting coffee!!! – so I nominated PB as the chief coffee maker 😉
It didn’t end up being the best coffee in the world – BUT when you’ve never made a chemex before AND are given pre-ground coffee from a bag of coffee that had been open for I’m not sure how long… AND the only instruction received being ‘pour the water over the coffee…’ (ummm – the dude in our favourite coffee shop in Medellin would be seething if he heard this!!!) I think PB did pretty okay! 🙂 🙂
After the ‘prepare your own’ coffee experience we went on the hunt for a place that prepared the coffee for you… and we found one! This coffee shop was on the main square and they didn’t do a bad coffee – it became our ‘go to’ place while we were in Jericó!!!
Jerico’s food and drink scene wasn’t just about the coffee and the deep fried potatoes smothered in spicy chilli sauce… this small pueblo has its own traditional sweet treats – and we declared them all VERY DELICIOUS!!!
The first delicacy we tried was ‘Luisas’ – a small slice made of flour and panela with a layer of guava jam in the middle… there’s only one place to go to buy them – it’s a Jericó institution.
The next was postre Jericoano – which we purchased from a local pizzeria after assurances online that it was the place to go for the BEST version of this traditional dessert… this dessert was absolutely AMAZING… with its SEVEN layers of goodness including figs, arequipe (a type of dulce de leche), dried pieces of papaya, pineapple and grapefruit, and of course lots of sugar! YUMMM!!!!!
Our final task in Jericó was to find the wine producing nuns that we’d read about online!!! CC was insistent that she wasn’t leaving Jericó until she’d bought wine from a nun! 🙂 With a little help from the lady in the tourist information office we located the nunnery… and with a little bravery we knocked on the door and entered! The nun inside was actually extremely cheerful and only too willing to sell us a bottle of their finest (they only have one type!) tipple… a kind of sweet dessert type wine. We don’t usually drink such sweet wine, but it worked out pretty well as a nice pre-bedtime drink each night in Jericó while looking at the view from our lovely balcony 🙂
All in all we LOVED our time in Jericó – it was such a great place to visit and surprisingly quiet… we can’t have seen more than a handful of other gringos during our stay 🙂 🙂